SkyCity has delivered a last minute warning to MPs voting this afternoon on the new National Convention Centre proposal that defeat will see the company send hundreds of millions of investment dollars offshore instead.
Nigel Morrison, SkyCity Entertainment managing director, said the $402 million earmarked for the long-delayed proposal would be committed elsewhere if Parliament voted against the deal.
Morrison has earlier said SkyCity would have to consider its options in the event of a no vote but was today explicit in stating building or upgrading facilities in Australia, or further afield, were the alternatives.
“We’d like to focus on Auckland with the National Convention Centre. If the NCC doesn’t get approval, then I think we would certainly look at other things out there and on our plate – be it on the Gold Coast, be it in Brisbane, be it in Darwin, be in in the Philippines or be it something else,” he said.
No doubt the jurisdiction that offers the greatest weakening of legal protection against the effects of gambling will be favoured. And the arrogance of pressuring Members of Parliament while debating the bill shows a great deal of contempt for the Parliamentary process.
Morrison said the bitter and long-contested process culminating in the Government and SkyCity signing a deal on July 8 had made the casino a “political football” subject to savage attacks.
“It’s been quite horrific, quite frankly,” Morrison said of some opposition to the deal.
So standing up for the rule of law and trying to prevent the scourge of pokie machines being increased is considered to be horrific?
Meanwhile Major Campbell Roberts of the Salvation Army says it the way it is.
The harm minimisation measures allowed for in this legislation are a joke. They are neither robust nor effective.
They do not represent any significant improvement on the rather ineffective current practices of Sky City Casino, that are already failing to significantly reduce gambling harm.”
He notes that a Ministry of Health survey last year reported that nearly a quarter of people gambling on gaming machines were likely to be problem gamblers or would probably develop a gambling addiction to be in the future.
“There is a sad irony that while politicians profess to care about child poverty, a significant contributor to the problem – problem gambling – is being ignored in the haste to acquire a convention centre for Auckland.”